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Five tips to help students manage their time like pros

Learning takes time and without good time management it can be difficult and stressful. To make it easier, here are five tips to help students manage their time like a pro.

NEWS 20 Dec 2023

Time is the most valuable resource we have and when it comes to learning, managing it well is absolutely vital.

Being a student can feel like a juggling act sometimes. Trying to find a way to balance schoolwork, classes, extracurricular activities, a social life and time with family is a big job. Luckily there are a few small, simple time management strategies students can adopt that can make a big difference to their academic success.

Create a digital or physical calendar

When you’ve got a lot on your plate it can be easy to double book, miss deadlines and appointments or even procrastinate. The best way to ensure this does not happen is to plan your time carefully in a physical or digital calendar.

Physical calendars can work if you prefer to have something on your wall or in a notebook, but digital calendars are great too. You could try:

  • Google Calendar
  • Microsoft Outlook Calendar
  • Apple Calendar
  • Fantastical

Simply log your schedule in your calendar, bookmark it and quickly check it at the beginning of every day so you can always spend your time as intended.

Write your own schedule

Once you have added your regular commitments like classes and extracurriculars to your calendar it is time to personalise your schedule. That means adding in the commitments that change every day and can be flexible around your other fixed appointments, like studying, socialising, or relaxing.

When writing your schedule, think about your energy levels at different times of the day and/or the week. For example, studies have indicated that learning may be most effective between 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm but everyone is different. Schedule your study time for whenever you tend to feel sharpest and think about scheduling relaxation or fun with friends when it is most needed.

Remind yourself

One of the great things about digital calendars is that you can easily set reminders for all of your appointments, including scheduled time to study or spend with family.

Setting a reminder for everything may cause notification overload but having a few for key appointments and to remind yourself to take time off to relax can help automate your time management efforts.

Set realistic goals and work towards them

Most goals are not achieved in leaps and bounds but thousands of small steps. For example, getting a perfect score in your VCE does not happen all at once — it is the result of countless afternoons of study over the years, diligent work on assignments and intensive study before the exam.

Your calendar can be a tool to help you take each of those small steps that ultimately lead you to your goal. Consider what you need to do to achieve your goal, and how much time you need to spend studying or practising, and simply break that down into daily or weekly chunks and write it into your schedule.

Figure out your priorities and make time for yourself

When you have a lot on your plate it is easy to feel overwhelmed and spread yourself too thin. So, when you are busy it is important to keep your priorities in mind, and don’t be afraid to say no to certain extracurriculars or social occasions if you don’t have the time or energy.

Always take note of which deadlines are most important and pressing when planning, and try to tackle the hardest tasks first to avoid procrastination and get them out of the way. Diane Furusho, Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing, says managing time well can have an enormous impact on a student’s enjoyment and success at school:

“Time is something that we never get back again so it is immensely important to respect it. Use it to learn and for work, use it to enjoy and to give to others and always remember that it is also okay to use time for you. Finding the balance of all these is what I believe helps one maintain wellbeing.”